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September 11, 2003

Pitt staffer goes country with CD

Amanda Lynn album (back cover)By day, Pitt staffer Amanda Ruane is express mail administrator in the Department of Parking, Transportation and Services.

At night, she is Amanda Lynn, country music artist.

Although Ruane says she loves her Pitt job, Amanda Lynn is not shy about expressing her career ambitions.

“I’ve always loved to sing. And I’ve been performing since first grade,” says the 25-year-old, who earned a Pitt degree in December 2000 and joined the Pitt staff the following month. “It’s definitely what I want to do with my life.”

And sing she does on her just-released first CD, “Amanda Lynn.” A CD release party will be held Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. at the Red Star Tavern in Station Square. The event is open to the public.

In sixth grade she was accepted at the Centers for the Musically Talented, a gifted artists program where she took voice lessons, learned musical theory and sang in a choir through her high school years.

She has entered a number of competitions, including the popular national TV show, “CBS Star Search.” Right now, she’s waiting for her call-back from the program, having passed the first round of auditioning in the adult singer category.

Locally, she finished second in the Starquest TV Challenge, and second in KDKA AM radio’s Pittsburgh Idol Contest. For the last two years, she’s been a regular performer at the Waterfront Town Center, and has performed at the Galleria in Mt. Lebanon, the Eighth Avenue Days celebration in Homestead and the South Oakland community days, among other venues. She also is a member of the Pittsburgh Songwriters Association.

Amanda Lynn acknowledges that Pittsburgh has never been known as a hotbed of country music. So how did she choose country as her genre? “I always liked country,” she says. “My grandparents are from West Virginia, and they played country all the time, so I was exposed to it very early,” the Pittsburgh native says. “And I think country music is more popular in Pittsburgh than people realize, judging from my experiences singing Karaoke and the popularity of the local country radio stations,” WDSY and WEEP.

Partly for vacation and partly to check out the scene, she and her husband traveled to Nashville, Tenn., the capital of country music. “It was professionally eye-opening for me, and disappointing. It is tough: To see so many performers trying to make it in the numerous small places there,” Amanda Lynn says. “But the scene is shifting. Now most country music is actually recorded in L.A.”

Amanda Lynn currently is the featured artist on the Pittsburgh’s Local Music web site (, where her biography, upcoming appearances and a “song bite” are available. She also has her own web site (, which was designed and is maintained by her husband, “my biggest supporter,” she says.

Does she prefer the recording studio or the live stage?

“When I listen to my recordings, they’re all really profession

ally done, so I’m proud of that. They sound great,” she says. “But I like to perform. I get juiced up, I draw energy from being on stage in front of an audience. I really love doing that.”

Not that she’s always been a big hit. “Yes, I’ve bombed. But everybody goes through that at one time or another. I’m never discouraged. Sometimes you have to rely on the energy of the musicians you’re performing with. At least they’re enjoying themselves, and getting something out of your performance.”

—Peter Hart                     



Filed under: Feature,Volume 36 Issue 2

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